I’ve always believed in God, but from a young age I realized religion and that “church stuff” wasn’t for Me. I had been invited to church by my friends and had gone a handful of times, but I never felt connected and never found much enjoyment out of going. In my teenage years I stopped all church activities and had no desire to get involved. I felt that God didn’t care about me and I wasn’t good enough to deserve any of His attention. I always imagined how great it would be to truly know Him and have Him in my life, but it seemed more like a nice fantasy than a possible reality. I accepted the thought that you had to be special in order to know God, or that only truly “good” people were privileged enough to have His support. I made no effort to turn to Him, yet anytime something bad happened to me I quickly blamed God for it. I would always say “Why me? Why can’t you just help me out?” Or “How could you let this happen to me?” The word “Me” was way too prevalent in my vocabulary. When I went off to college, my selfish thoughts became stronger.
I met Brooke my sophomore year and later we would marry. Before her, I had always been shy when it came to girls, but she made me feel so comfortable that we hit it off immediately. Soon after, we started dating and became really close. However, it seemed that the closer we became the more I pulled away. We developed something great and she cared about me, but the enemy has a way of attacking you when you’re at your happiest. Toxic thoughts flooded my brain, and quickly I started worrying about getting so committed to someone at my young age. I had always been told, “Your college years are the best years of your life and you should enjoy them while you’re young.” So that’s exactly what I did, but it only caused more hurt.
I surrounded myself with bad influences, and began to drink and smoke regularly. My idea of fun at the time was getting drunk and high and surrounding myself with a bunch of people at a party. With my new perspective of “live while you’re young” I started turning my back on the only person, besides my parents, who actually cared about me. I began talking to other girls behind Brooke’s back and justified it by the fact that I was young and in college. I hurt her many times and shrugged it off, but for reasons unknown, she stuck with me and still had hope that I would come back to her. To this day, it eats at me when I think about how I treated her and the things I put her through. The last time I would do anything to hurt her was when I finally stopped to truly look her in the face and see the pain in her eyes. She had lost the bright optimism in her eyes and it was because of me. I finally realized how much I loved her because it felt like my heart had been stabbed seeing her so hurt. She loved me so much and I was throwing it away, and it wasn’t until I almost pushed her too far that I could see the damage I caused. I was sick to my stomach for the way I treated her. That wasn’t who I wanted to be, and I wouldn’t continue to act that way. I still partied, but I stayed committed to her and we were rebuilding our relationship. Not soon after, I was tested to my limits.
One day, while I was working out, I received a text that blew me away. Brooke had texted me and told me she was pregnant. My heart sank, and I knew it had to be a mistake. After three pregnancy tests, we realized that there was no mistake. My world came crashing down, and all I could think was that my life was over. I thought, “I’m too young to have a baby.” I was still in college and I figured I would have to drop out, and all my hopes and dreams would be thrown away. My selfish thinking only alienated Brooke. I didn’t think about her or how she felt, I thought that it was all about “Me.” All I knew was that I didn’t want to have a baby. After weeks of trying to decide what to do, Brooke made the correct decision and she told me she would be keeping the baby. I became infuriated, and of course, all I could say is, “why Me!?”
That night I went for a drive, and I yelled at God. I cursed his name, and screamed, “Why are you doing this to Me!” “Why won’t you help Me?” Then, I told him “I hate you!” Finally, there it was. All my feelings about God had culminated to one underlying theme, I hated Him. My thinking was that He ignored me and allowed all the bad things in my life to happen. But through all the bad things that happened in my life, not one time did I ever truly ask for His help. I assumed that He would help me no matter what, even though I turned my back on Him and never made an effort to get close to Him. As immature and foolish as I was, I was right about one thing. He WOULD help me out no matter what. It just took a little while for me to realize He was in the process of saving me.
On January 5th 2011, one of the greatest moments in my life happened; Blakelee Nicole Davidson was born. After almost 9 months of waiting my little girl had arrived. The love I felt that day was indescribable and completely unquantifiable. The type of love I had for her was something I had never felt before. I had this overwhelming desire to protect her and I was sure of one thing, I would give everything I had to make sure she was taken care of. I didn’t fully understand at the time, but God had given me a gift. Raising Blakelee forced me to quit thinking about myself and focus strictly on being the best Dad I could be. In doing so, I quit hanging around bad influences, and my relationship with Brooke grew stronger. I was truly happy for the first time, but something still wasn’t right. I began having an overwhelming feeling that I needed to go to church.
I didn’t know why but I felt like Brooke and I needed to go to church, and felt like God wanted Me, specifically, to go. I had been to Gateway Church once for the Christmas play and I really enjoyed it, so we made plans to attend a service. Before then, I had never felt a connection with previous pastors, but Robert Morris was different. That first service opened my eyes and by the end of it I was connected to more than just the church, but I felt connected to God for the first time. I don’t remember the exact service, but I remember Pastor Morris saying that God made us in His image, and just like humans can laugh and cry, so can He. Pastor Morris also said that God has a deep desire to get to know us and He will make an attempt to be in our lives. Suddenly, I began thinking about all the negative things I had said to God and especially what I said in my car to Him the night I found out Brooke was going to have our baby. I had said so many hurtful things to him and I felt ashamed. All He wanted was to be in my life, but all I did was curse Him every time my life got tough. Yet after all the times I turned my back on Him, He still was itching at me to get close to Him.
At the end of the service I gave my life to Christ and finally realized that I was worthy of His love. I felt His presence all around me and couldn’t help but cry. I prayed that He would forgive me for all my selfishness and I told Him that I loved Him, and in that moment, I felt His love right back. I realized that this “church stuff” WAS for me. I realized that before that point I was on a path to destruction because I only cared for myself. Through all that, He still blessed me with a beautiful child which forced me to stop my selfish living. I realize now that all the times I thought He was punishing me, He was only trying to save me. Brooke never gave up on me and neither did God. If God hadn’t given me Brooke and Blakelee I’d still be on a path to destruction.
Since then, I’ve become closer to Christ and am filled with a strong desire to know Him more. I’m not where I want to be fully, but I’m on the right path. He is always there for me and I turn to Him for everything. He’s given me a lovely wife and TWO beautiful daughters, and I thank him every day for the sacrifices He made just so I could have what I have.
It was never about “me” and it will never be about “me” because there would be no “me” without “HIM.”
Written by Brad Davidson, newlywed husband of an Embrace Grace Alumni Brooke